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NOAA INITIATIVE COULD SAVE KEYS CORAL REEF, STUDY FINDS

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NOAA INITIATIVE COULD SAVE KEYS CORAL REEF, STUDY FINDS
Restored staghorn coral at Looe Key reef in the lower Florida Keys. This reef is one of the locations targeted for restoration through the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Association’s Mission: Iconic Reefs. LAUREN TOTH/USGS

Some eroding coral reefs in the Florida Keys could begin growing again at historical levels — as fast as their peak 7,000 years ago — if restoration goals planned for the area are achieved.

A new study led by the U.S. Geological Survey (USGS) is the first to estimate coral reef growth versus erosion throughout the Keys and can help guide conservation decisions. Prior to this study, rates of erosion have only been estimated for some sites in the Keys.

Climate change, extreme temperatures, disease outbreaks and other stressors in recent decades have affected the ability of reefs to grow, causing reef erosion. Healthy coral reefs provide habitat for fish, lobster, crabs and other marine life. They also contribute billions of dollars per year to the global economy by supporting the recreational and commercial fishing industries, attracting tourism and protecting coastal communities from floods and storms.

Click HERE to read more.

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